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Experimental Methods for Networking Research and Practice

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Jay Aikat, Kevin Jeffay, F. Donelson Smith
In this paper, we propose an upper undergraduate / graduate level course titled: “Experimental Methods for Networking Research and Practice”. This course is designed as a learning experience with two primary goals – conceptual understanding of the various research methods used in empirical networking research, and hands-on experience by performing two hands-on projects, one in a controlled lab setting and the other in the GENI environment.

Networking researchers have long used experimental networks and distributed systems for designing and evaluating new networking technologies. However, the networking research community lacks a coherent, shared view of best practices for experimental methods for networking research. And hence, the teaching of experimental research methods lags even further behind. So, even as we make significant methodological advances in empirical networking research, and build large-scale collaborative research testbeds like the GENI infrastructure, these resources have yet to make their way into our classrooms and textbooks. In this paper, we present a design for teaching experimental methods to networking students, using a simple laboratory testbed as well as the clusters in the GENI infrastructure. We welcome feedback from this community on this ongoing effort.




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